Every year, it appears that Secret Lair products become more and more popular. Even Secret Lairs that don’t offer insane reprint value still have many players interested. This was evident given how quickly numerous Secret Lair bundles for the recent Winter Superdrop sold out. It’s clear a large segment of the player base is interested in these unique, alternate-art versions of cool cards.
Perhaps no specific type of Secret Lair product showcases this more than the Secret Lair Commander decks. Just recently, the $149.99 Raining Cats and Dogs deck sold out in a mere six hours. This wasn’t much of a surprise, though, as the deck was chock-full of valuable reprints. These Secret Lair Commander decks provide a decent opportunity for EDH players who enjoy off-the-wall themes to purchase an intriguing Preconstructed deck to play with.
As such, MTG designer Gavin Verhey took to Twitter to gather feedback and ideas from the players regarding what themes they would most want to see moving forward. Given the success of the Raining Cats and Dogs deck, I’d expect more and more of these in the future. Today, we are going to delve into the most discussed and seemingly hyped-up themes that players came up with. Gavin made it clear that this is a perfect place for interesting and underrepresented ideas, and the responses did not disappoint.
Working Together to Achieve a Common Goal
One idea that seemed to garner a lot of support was a deck built around assembling different cards together that all work well with each other. There are tons of cards throughout MTG’s history that provide large payoffs, but only if you control multiple related cards at the same time. For instance, Meld cards like Gisela, the Broken Blade and Bruna, the Fading Light work together to become an enormous, game-breaking monster.
Cards like Helm of Kaldra are relatively weak on their own, but highly impactful with the right supporting cast in play. This seems like a great theme for a Secret Lair Commander deck. Urza, Lord Protector could act as a decent efficient general that can reduce the cost of cards like Helm of Kaldra. Given how many examples, like assembling the various Kaldra pieces, involve colorless Artifacts (think Throne of Empires and Hand of Vecna for instance), Urza’s cost reduction can play a big role.
Furthermore, this would allow you to make great use of Tron Lands. By getting Urza’s Tower, Urza’s Power Plant, and Urza’s Mine into play, you will have a lot of extra mana to work with. You also have the perfect amount of mana to Meld Urza!
Popular Ideas from Unique Commanders
Another solid idea that a lot of players seemed to enjoy was focusing on letting your opponents gain control of your permanents for your benefit. Players have historically liked Group Hug-style EDH decks, and this seems like a great theme to build a Secret Lair product around with gorgeous artwork.
Unsurprisingly, Zedruu, the Greathearted immediately comes to mind as a leader for a theme like this. However, there are a decent number of cards even outside the Jeskai colors that would be welcome inclusions in a deck built around this idea. Demonic Pact, for example, is the perfect card to give to someone else (after you’ve utilized the beneficial abilities, of course).
Tokens That Need Printings
One interesting aspect of Secret Lair products in general, including Commander decks, is that they provide a perfect chance for much-needed reprints to see the light of day. Obviously, the focus for Secret Lairs is on reprints, not new mechanically unique cards, so it’s always nice to see pricier cards get the reprints they need.
One thing that isn’t talked about a lot, though, is the fact that plenty of older cards don’t actually have officially printed tokens in paper to go with them. Firecat Blitz is a perfect example. Gavin Verhey even mentioned the need for a Kaldra token himself. As such, it would be quite cool to see a token-focused Commander deck with relevant tokens getting their first official printings.
From there, you could even add in Garth One-Eye and add tokens for the cards it creates. In this way, players that already own Commander decks with cards like Firecat Blitz or Garth One-Eye would finally have the requisite tokens to go along with them.
Building Around Odd Mechanics
Another area of focus for these Commander decks that could be quite successful is featuring mechanics that are unlikely to appear in premier sets. Most players are familiar with head designer Mark Rosewater’s Storm Scale, which showcases the likeliness of established mechanics showing up again in future premier sets.
That being said, even keywords that are high up on the Storm Scale are often free rein for Commander decks (see Annihilator appearing on Flayer of Loyalties in the Commander Masters Eldrazi Unbound Commander deck). Besides, as a deck filled with reprints, these Commander decks are great ways to show off controversial mechanics.
One of the best mechanics to highlight in my opinion would be Poison counters. Between Poisonous, Infect, and most recently Toxic, Poison counters have been a relevant part of MTG for many years and will likely appeal to a lot of players as a result. A Commander deck featuring neat reprints of older cards, such as Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon, with dazzling new art would be quite cool to see.
Other older mechanics that don’t get as much love in more modern sets, such as Affinity for Artifacts, could be sweet to feature as well. We already saw Mycosynth Golem get a cool reprint in a previous Secret Lair product, so why not continue the theme? There are valuable cards like Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge that could use reprints, too.
All in all, there really are a ton of different directions that these Secret Lair Commander decks can be taken. Only time will tell what the next theme will be but given the massive player response, these Secret Lair Commander decks seem to be of high interest. So, stay vigilant, as another Secret Lair Commander deck could be right around the corner.